By Dipo Olowookere The management of Japaul Oil & Maritime Services Plc is already intensifying efforts to source for the N27 billion it requires to finance its newfound love, mining business. One of its core services, crude exploration and production, has been dull lately because of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19. This virus initially plunged the price of crude oil to around $20 per barrel at a point this year before it later stabilised to around $40 per barrel. In order not to have its operations badly affected and then chased out of business, Japaul Oil is looking to diversify its activities and mining is the new destination the management is hoping to explore. Business Post recalled that at a virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the firm held on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, shareholders of the company authorised the board to raise N27 billion. At the meeting, the board was also given the approval to change the company\u2019s name from Japual Oil & Maritime Services Plc to Japaul Gold & Ventures Plc. According to Bloomberg on Thursday, Chairman of the organisation, Mr Jegede Paul, said to make this a reality, the firm is working with Toronto-based Matrix Geotechnologies Ltd as the consultant for its operations and has obtained licenses to mine gold, lead, nickel and copper it identified in commercial quantities in different parts of Nigeria, He said the company also wants to acquire smaller companies that already have licenses for those minerals to boost its production. Mr Paul noted that all these steps are geared towards giving value to shareholders because its present business operations have been affected by the drop in investments by energy firms because of the recent decline in oil prices. Japaul Oil provides offshore construction, equipment leasing and oilfield-support services to both local and international oil companies, but due to slowdown in the sector, things are not smooth like it used to. \u201cThe oil companies that we are serving have little jobs to do and the little jobs that are there, we are all battling to do at prices that are below our costs,\u201d the Chairman was quoted as saying by Bloomberg today. But Mr Paul expressed optimism that in the next 24 months, Japaul Oil should be fully into the mining business. \u201cBy the next two years, we will completely be a mineral company,\u201d he said.